Thursday, April 14, 2011

L is for Loop

My Theme for the A to Z Challenge: Desert Canyon Living 

The Tehachapi mountains form a barrier between the San Joaquin Valley, one of the major produce growing areas in the United States, and the Mojave Desert to points south and west. From the San Joaquin valley to the Tehachapi Pass, the mountains rise to 4,000 feet over 46 miles . When the Southern Pacific Railroad was built through the valley it was thought it could go no further when it reached the foot of the mountains in 1875. The engineers in charge must have considered it an impossible task to continue the railroad up the steep mountain grade. 
Legend has it, that chief engineer, William Hood, observed how donkeys and mules traversed the mountain in circles and got the idea for what has now become the famous Tehachapi Loop. What he actually did, he surveyed the mountain from the top rather than from the bottom. After studying the layout of the land, another version of the legend has it that one morning he staked out the two huge circles, measuring over 3,700 feet, that would become the Tehachapi Loop. In addition, 18 tunnels were built into the mountain. The railroad was built by Chinese workers; about 3,000 came from Canton, China, and many stayed in the area after the work was completed. 

Today, this is the busiest single-track mountain railway in the world. 

Considered one of the seven wonders of the railway world, the Loop is also one of the most popular trainspotting sites. Fans come from all over to view and photograph trains going through the Loop. What they are most interested in is seeing a very long train go in through the tunnel at the bottom of the Loop, come out the other side, and then circle the actual Loop, and finally crossing over its own last cars as they move into the tunnel below. I have seen this and it is something to behold. I have no photos to post though. Fortunately, we have Google and a plethora of websites covering this subject, here are two links:   

A note on my Knoll post: Clint in Dallas, Texas, in a comment on yesterday's post, reminded me about the terrible connection between a grassy knoll and the assassination of President Kennedy there.  Something was in the back of my mind about a knoll, but I couldn't remember, and that was it. Clint, I know we all cringe when we hear those words. 

Finally, I got really sick yesterday and I spent the day in bed. So we have to go to town today. I don't want to miss anything from any of your blogs, but it is getting pretty huge by now with the A to Z Challenge.  So I will catch up as best I can later and I will of course visit the blogs of any new followers. I feel better today, sometimes a good rest will help. Have a great day, everyone.


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